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Learning To Drive: How Much Does It Cost?

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Learning to drive can be an incredibly expensive endeavour in life, but it pays off in the end.

You might be here because you’ve recently turned 17 and are looking at how much you are going to need in your piggy bank to learn, or maybe you’re thinking of learning to drive when you’re into your adulthood. Maybe you’ve just come out of University and will need a car to get to the new job you’ve got with your fancy degree, it’s important to know what it’s going to cost you for your ultimate driving freedom.

There are two main avenues that people go down when it comes to learning to drive: Smacking the L plates on the family car and learning with a family member, or paying for a driving instructor and attacking the public roads with somebody who has dual controls to keep you in check. Unfortunately, before you can go running at your chosen avenue, there is already a cost you have to pay: You’ll need to buy your Provisional driving licence, which will cost you a cool £34 from the DVLA’s website.

learning to drive

Teaching Yourself To Drive

First let’s have a look at the first avenue: Driving with a family member. This is probably the cheapest of the two options, providing that you already have a car that can be used, if not a cheap manual hatchback like a Ford KA or a Toyota Aygo would work wonders as a first car to learn in and drive after you pass your test, although including the cost of the car will likely make this a more expensive option than learning with an instructor.

You’ll need to buy some red “L” learner driver plates for your vehicle which are usually available in large supermarkets or auto parts stores such as Halfords for around £5. Next up is insurance for your car as a provisional driver, this is always a tricky cost to predict as it depends on the insurer, your area and the vehicle you are trying to insure, but average costs for provisional insurance for the year are normally between £400-600.

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Although cost-effective, this method can be tricky, as it will rely on you having a good relationship with the person who is teaching you as it’s more likely for you to get in an argument over something that happened during the driving with somebody you know and are comfortable with than a professional instructor.

You may also pick up bad habits that are fine for normal driving, but the examiners may mark you down for little things such as crossing your arms whilst steering and not using your handbrake when you are stationary, which is normally fine to do in regular driving.

Learning With An Instructor

The second option at your disposal, which is more expensive but more common is to hire a driving instructor. The normal procedure for an instructor is they will come and pick you up at a specified location for an hour or twos lesson. The average cost for a driving lesson with an instructor is between £22-27 an hour, for which you’ll get a professional instructor who is used to dealing with new drivers on a daily basis, and somebody who will know exactly what you need to know to be able to pass your driving test.

An important thing to note is that automatic gearbox driving lessons will be more expensive than those with a manual car, as typically the cost of the car is more for an automatic and the instructor will charge more based on this.

This is the route I would recommend if you can afford it as having an instructor will help you develop the skills that will be essential for driving. Driving with an instructor is a simpler process than if you were to try learning yourself, but finding the right instructor can be difficult.

It’s best to ask around in your family if they know anybody who is a driving instructor, maybe you have a cousin who recently passed or asking a friend what instructor they used, chances are they are still teaching and you will have somebody that you know is reliable as a friend or family member passed with them.

learning to drive cost can be high

My Personal Experience In Learning To Drive

Recently I passed my test using a driving instructor, it took me about 10 months of driving from early March 2018 to early January 2019 until I passed my test. I had two driving theory tests which cost me £23 each, and I passed on my second attempt at the practical test which was £62 each. All-in-all I spent £170 on the driving tests alone, it’s pricey but it’s completely normal if you don’t pass the first time around so don’t worry. Obviously, it’s cheaper if you do it first time round both times but don’t fret if you don’t manage it, it isn’t the end of the world.

My driving lessons were on the lower end of the spectrum due to having an instructor that had been teaching for decades and was looking at retiring within the next few years. Lessons started at £21 for an hour, with an introductory deal of 9 hours for £100 as a one time offer. About halfway through the lessons, the fuel prices went up and so did the cost of my lessons, thankfully only to £22. In total, I spent £1,178 on my driving lessons over 10 months, which equated to 58 hours of driving experience. The total cost of learning to drive was £1,348 including my two attempts at both the driving theory test and the practical driving test.

Summary

To summarize, learning to drive can cost what appears to be a lot of money but in the long run, around £1300 is a low price to pay for what you’ll be able to do once you are out on the road driving wherever you possibly can. Of course, the cost of your car is going to be another cost, but that is something that cannot be measured as everybody’s choices of car and price range will be different. My advice is to find a reliable driving instructor that you may have a recommendation for and keep your head down, listen to what they are saying and focus on the ultimate goal: Conquering the open road.

learning to drive can cost what appears to be a lot of money but in the long run, around £1300 is a low price to pay for what you’ll be able to do once you are out on the road driving wherever you possibly can.

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Jared Hodges

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